The IAG Team

A vertical farming frame, which was founded by British agricultural technology company Innovation Agri-Tech (IAG), is capable of growing up to 17 crops a year.

The GrowFrame360TM can grow 3,250 plants at any given time without sunlight or soil, and also uses 98 per cent less water compared to cultivating the crop in a field.

The technology was inspired by IAG founder and chief executive Jaz Singh’s farming background in India.

Here, he saw how quickly arable land was depleted by traditional growing practices, and that indoor vertical growing – with crops grown in controlled conditions – offered a solution.

The GrowFrame360TM is made up of 10 grow panels per frame and can be used for crops such as leafy greens, herbs and chillies. It was developed at the company’s Bracknell site after six years of research and development, plus
partnerships with UK manufacturers, engineers and academics.

The grower places seeds in specially designed seedling trays. When they have germinated, the seedlings are transferred to the GrowFrame grow panels, which sit in a controlled environment. Both sides of the panel can be used to make full use of the growing space. The roots of the plants are suspended inside the panel, with an irrigation system intermittently misting them with water and nutrients, and there are sliding grow panels to help simplify harvesting.

The system is modular and scalable, which means growers can easily expand their operations. Without the need for
sunlight or soil, plants can be grown 365 days a year because the concept is not climate dependent. This means
that crops which might not be grown in open-field farming can be cultivated.

Jaz sees the GrowFrame360TM as offering growers a series of advantages, including increased yields, improved crop quality, sustainability, flexibility and scalability.

Going forward, the company plans to run further trials to expand the range of crops that can be grown, possibly venturing into medicinal and pharmaceutical species. It is also looking to develop plant varieties specifically tailored for controlled environment agriculture.

“We are working to establish difficult to-grow plants with our technology,’’ says Jaz.

Another area the company will focus on is how the system can use energy and water more efficiently.